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Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

Brooks saddle protection

15 November 2014 - 3:11pm
I got a nice new Brooks saddle about nine months ago for touring and I also use the bike for getting around town every day. It rains a lot and therefore I've been buying saddle covers to stop it getting wet because I heard that leather saddles irreversibly lose their shape if you let them get wet.

The trouble is they all wear out.

I got a Brooks rain cover which is solid and is meant to be waterproof, but because I wasn't 100% sure about the latter, I got one of these http://shop.onyerbikeseat.com just in case to put over the top (i.e. two covers). Of course the latter disintegrated rapidly. But I thought the Brooks cover would last. Now I see it is also developing a small hole in the front.

I keep the cover on all the time, whether I am riding or not. Is this not what these saddle covers are designed for? Am I meant to be removing the cover every time I get on the bike? That sounds like a hassle.. And me sitting on it will keep all the rain off it even in heavy downpours? OK if it gets wet I wait for it to dry and apply proof hide, but I don't want to be doing this all the time.

Also, has anyone felt their saddle is less comfortable when covered up, than bare, or is it just my imagination?

Re: Favourite country?

15 November 2014 - 2:38pm
France - It has an excellent network of quiet secondary roads with little traffic. The landscape varies enormously across the country. Cyclists are respected. The food is wonderful.

St. David's to Lowestfoft

15 November 2014 - 10:52am
Looking for recommended route in order to help promote the UK's longest CtC route.

Re: ROSE BIKE'S UK . .

15 November 2014 - 10:20am
neil ry wrote:wasn't goin to get wheels built yet due to budget,
been quoted by local wheel builder 700c mavic rims, deore hubs, aci spokes,32 hole's £150 seems reasonable

For 2 wheels I hope?

Re: ROSE BIKE'S UK . .

14 November 2014 - 11:17pm
I bought a Team Xeon CGF from them, great bike and hassle free deal.

They have a free phone number to talk to them, they all speak English too.

Only issue I've had is with the parcelfarce side of it, a package spent 4 days enjoying the Essex countryside much to my annoyance!

Re: London - Istanbul. Which route?

14 November 2014 - 8:00pm
With a long distance ride finding viable off road routes can be awkward. You need a decently detailed map but will tend to ride across it quite quickly. Also the right scale may not be available when you need it. Spending £10-15 per day on maps is an expensive and bulky exercise.

I might be out of date and Google maps \ technology may have caught up.

Likewise rural roads beyond Hungary may have improved hugely. But if they haven't on road conditions can be worse than a UK off road trail. It's part of the experience and travelling down through the balkans was terrific.

Choice of route starts with how you feel about hills; the flatter ways are following the rhine to pick up eurovelo6. Then follow the danube, cut across bulgaria and pick uo 100 towards Istanbul.
The fastest way is to head south over the alps, down italy to Ancona and catch the ferry to greece but the long ferry ride is kinda missing the point.

The balkans are a terrific touring experience but very hot in high summer.

The route should reflects what you want to get out of the trip. Also a search on eurovelo6 on here should throw up some hits.

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

14 November 2014 - 6:16pm
First off I did Zeeebrugge to Hook of Holland in two days and I would say it was the best bit of the trip. Fantastic coastline, beautiful beaches, woods, cycling along the tops of the dunes, and the dikes between the islands. Any way you can change your plans to take in Zealand I would recommend it.
From H van H I took an inland route to Delft and spent a couple of hours looking around there and then cycled to the YH in Den Haag. Next morning I spent in the Mauritshuis. If you like old masters and Dutch painting this is an absolute must see. A small intimate gallery but everything in it really superb. I stored the bike and bags in the YH and started cycling about 4 and went up to a campsite on the coast near Katwijk. Next day north and into Haarlem, nice town indeed and worth the detour. Stayed in a campsite on the outskirts and next morning went to the Frans Hals museum. Again it depends on your taste but I thought it was fantastic.
Top tip: every Dutch city of any size I went to had a guarded bike park, either next to the station or the town hall. Cycle straight into the city, take the bike to the guarded bike park, go off sight seeing in perfect confidence that your bike is safe. Brilliant!
All the campsites up to Den Helder were not very nice Eurocamp places, lots of chalets and static caravans, but they just happened to be where I felt like stopping. As it was early October they were very quiet but I wouldn't like to be there in the summer. Always go for the "natural" campsites, if you can: http://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl/en ... te-finder/
Camping bei de Boer are also simpler and quieter than the Eurocamp sites, but not as nice as the natural campsites: http://www.kamperenbijdeboer.nl/

The cycling up to Den Helder is through the beautiful dunes and pine woods but you don't see the sea unless you take a detour to see it. Into Den Helder and straight on to the boat for Texel. Texel is beautiful but it is big so you don't feel you're on an island. Off the boat I headed for the SW shoreline up to Oudeschilde. Fantastic ride along the sea wall, feet from the waves, Oudeschilde a pretty harbour with a good bike shop which sells a cool jersey with Texel written on it. I camped in Oosterend at a nice natural campsite, very quiet surrounded by woods, basic facilities but good, including washing machine and dryer, coin operated but dead cheap http://www.grietjeshoeve.com/nl/prijzen.htm. Nearby town of Oosterend pretty with a good food shop. Rode over to the NW shore the next day where the beaches and the resorts are, looked as if it could be busy in the high season.

Back to Den Helder and then over the Afsluitsdike. The woman on the ferry said I should be able to cross the dike in 2 hours. It took one hour at average speed 19.5 with a howling SW wind behind. Great fun, like being on a fairground ride. But if the wind is in the NE my advice is go back to bed and leave it till tomorrow. If you island hop from Texel to Vlieland you will miss that and I'm glad I didn't, the dike is an amazing sight. I crossed to Vlieland from Harlingen. Lovely place, simple and quiet and the natural campsite is Lange Paal, Long Pole, great campsite surrounded by woods, nice and simple, really quiet. Only 3 of us there but I think it really fills up in the summer, I would book. Worth taking time to cycle round Vlieland, lovely dunes on the NW coast and marshes with bird hides on the SE, great pine woods in between, always windy.
About island hopping: you need to plan this carefully. Some of the "fast ferries" don't take bikes, some of the ferries between the islands only run on certain days. If you have to go back to the mainland and out to the next island it will take the best part of a day and a lot of dosh. Those ferries are not cheap. So I missed going to Terschelling, which I bitterly regret. I found the website impossible to decipher so decided to just leave it till I got there, which was a mistake. My advice is ring them nearer the time. If the person who answers the phone can't give you the info in perfect English there will be someone next to them who can.
I went down to Holwerd and out to Ameland. Mistake. Ameland I found horrible. Busy, noisy, crowded even in October, though it was half term, and holiday makers take their own cars there. I got back off as soon as I could. All the campsites were massive chalet and static caravan parks and the real camper, namely me, was put in the kid's playground. There was nowhere to stay on Schermonikoog because of the time of the year but it is a nature reserve and cars aren't allowed. so I would definitely have a look. By the way there is a little municipal campsite at Ternard on the mainland as you travel east, just beyond Holwerd, small and simple and dead cheap. http://beta.eurocampings.co.uk/netherla ... rd-119640/

The NSCR down to Lauwersoog it all nice riding. Tip: wherever you are, if the NSCR is signed beside the dike and you can't see the sea to your left, check out the top of the dike to see if there is a bike path up there and ride on the top of the dike with the sea on one side and the land on the other, unless of course there is a howling gale, which was quite often for me. After Lauwersoog there is some very nice riding through woods and heaths and a nice natural campsite at Wehe den Hoorn: Camping Wilgenheerd, Havenstraat 3 ,9964 AN Wehe-den Hoorn. There is also Spar nearby but I can't remember where but it is the only shop for miles around.

After that campsite to Delftzil the NSCR did a stupid route miles from the coast and winding around all over the place so I eventually gave up on it and rode straight to Delftzil.
That's it. I also went to Groningen, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, all brilliant places, then got caught in the hurricane and took a train back to Den Haag and had a second visit to the Mauritshuis, that's how much I rated it. Rode down the bit of the NSCR I missed first time, Den Haag to H van H. The NSCR through Scheveningen was a completely mad route and without a gps I would still be there trying to find my way out. My advice is pick up a main road and get straight through. Remember that nearly all main roads have separate cycle tracks anyway. And the coast from Scheveningen to H van H was not much to write home about so I think I was right to go up through Delft rather than follow the NSCR.
I loved cycling in the Netherlands. The landscape is not boring as lots of people try to tell us, I found it stunning, all that sky and clouds. The Dutch were great, always helpful and eager to chat. Just start talking in English to whoever is standing next to you, or even cycling next to you, which will be a lot of the time. The separate cycle tracks are a joy and the courtesy of motorists is just astonishing to a Brit. Have fun.

Re: Trail A Bike For Tourer?

14 November 2014 - 3:21pm
I wont need to weld a 'T' bit. The clamp from the tag along hitch will clamp onto the old forks part. The tag along will hitch to the hitch as it should. Photos will describe better when I get the tag along on Tuesday.

Now, do I use pannier bags or get a couple of samsonite suitcases and bolt them to the pannier racks so the lids are outwards. They would be a bit like hard cased panniers. Might be too heavy.

Re: French End to End

14 November 2014 - 3:18pm
mullinsm wrote:The straight line approach was one I tried on LEJOG a couple of years back, but after 2 days of climbing ridiculous gradients in Cornwall and Devon, I vowed to be more circumspect in future. On day three it took three and a half hours to cover 15 miles before I threw the planned route away and started following roads that ran in valleys! I don't mind a few hills, but all day going up and down ramps is soul-destroying on a heavy bike.........French hills are higher but a lot easier than west country hills - mainly because they are well graded and you often get pay-back in terms of long freewheels down the other side. I'd definitely advise not to be put off - and you can work out some picturesque routes avoiding big towns - even minor roads have gentle gradients.
Come to think the west country is one of the hilliest places we've ever cycled and definitely the hardest part of LEJOG.

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

14 November 2014 - 2:28pm
martin113 wrote:I did the North Sea route from Zeebrugge to Delftzil a month ago and could practically write a book about it so rather than launch in, if you want to give me some pointers to what you want to know I'll try and answer the questions.

foxyrider wrote:Has anyone got any particular recomendations for stuff to see, particular campsites/accomodation to use / avoid or route advice - all welcomed.

Is there a campsite i should avoid, a museum i must visit, a route best avoided? At this stage in the planning i've broken it up into daily chunks but done nothing much more. Should i camp on the islands or just visit during the day? when is the best time visit?

I find it strange that the Dutch sites have no other languages, but perhaps i'm spoilt by Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark! i know i can use google translate but thats hardly infallible!

London - Istanbul. Which route?

14 November 2014 - 2:25pm
I'm planning to cycle to Istanbul from my home in London next Spring/Summer, have built the bike and now face the more bewildering task of picking a route. I have fat 26" semi-knobblies and relish taking off road tracks into the wilderness.

What routes have you taken and which parts did you/didn't you like?

Re: DIY Luggage options

14 November 2014 - 2:08pm
NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
When it was stuffed I had to cycle bow legged

I can imagine.

Re: DIY Luggage options

14 November 2014 - 2:04pm
Hi,
reminds me when I was at school I had one of those cheap pressed imitation leather brief cases with two sprung buckles, I would open it up and place it in the frame and close the top over the top bar
When it was stuffed I had to cycle bow legged

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

14 November 2014 - 2:01pm
Aushiker wrote:Pete Jack wrote:My Trek520 and creative rain gear. Outside the cafe in Tennessee I scrounged the bin bag from. Yes, it was very wet and I'd left my nice Goretex 200 miles back. (I think. I never have found it.)

Great idea. I should have thought of that when I lost my Shower Pass jacket ....

Andrew
Thanks Andrew. Nice to know I'm not the only one who has done that sort of thing. I phoned all the places we stayed at and no one had found a jacket. Somewhere on this site somebody claimed they had never, ever, forgot to take something they needed on tour. Aye...right.

Actually the bin bag works surprisingly well.

DIY Luggage options

14 November 2014 - 1:29pm
I'm heading to Morocco soon and need a bit more carrying space. I had some bits and bobs lying about that I cobbled together to make a frame bag. The WSD frame doesn't leave me a lot of space in the triangle but it's better than nothing at all.
Here's how I made this bag. http://www.farawayvisions.com/diy-frame-bag-curved-top-tube/

MYOG Bikepacking Frame Bag small.jpg

Re: Favourite country?

14 November 2014 - 1:28pm
I vote for Germany. Outstanding cycling infrastructure; excellent scenery, food & beer; good summer weather; and friendly people, most of whom speak some English.

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

14 November 2014 - 10:53am
Here is my bike. I have panniers on the back and will be making a pannier trailer.

One I made last year and sold. I wish I hadnt.

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

14 November 2014 - 8:30am
Pete Jack wrote:My Trek520 and creative rain gear. Outside the cafe in Tennessee I scrounged the bin bag from. Yes, it was very wet and I'd left my nice Goretex 200 miles back. (I think. I never have found it.)

Great idea. I should have thought of that when I lost my Shower Pass jacket ....

Andrew

Re: Planning My First Tour

14 November 2014 - 6:13am
A very valid last point. I understand why that could happen, and it could certainly happen to me. To be hoenst, I don't think I'll ever have this slot of time again so will persevere when things get tough (and I'm sure there will be times like this).

Thanks!

Re: Eurovelo route 15 - please comment on our plans!

14 November 2014 - 6:09am
Hi Gareth,

Will be watching the thread closely as I plan to do the same ride in summer 2015, with a bit tagged on beforehand. From my research (which you will have probably already found to be honest) you are doing it in the right direction, it is largely a comfortable ride and there is plenty of amenties along the route.

I would be very interested to learn more about options from accomodation, from people's experiences. Is there plenty of camping spots? Were hotels / B&Bs required.

Also, did people prefer to ride on the French or German side up and around Cologne / Dusseldorf?

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